July was Spinning Week registration for the Bolivian spinners. It was also a busy month on their farms with the once-a-year harvest of Andean grains, corn, and legumes such as tarwi known as Andean lupine. Spinning Week will be Monday, October 3rd through Sunday October 9th, which falls during a lull in the spinners´ agricultural calendar. They do not like change. They have witnessed so much in their lifetimes having been born into the famer subsistence lifestyle which their children escaped by heading out into a larger unfathomable world. What little the women can control they are adamant about controlling. Last year on short notice Spinning Week was changed from the 7-year-old practice of Monday through Sunday to Spin Together´s Saturday through Friday schedule. Beginning Spinning Week on Saturday, which is the sacred (church) day for the many Evangelico spinners was not well received. Because of the demand to return to a Monday through Sunday Spinning Week, the team Phuskadoras Internacionales will not be registering for Spin Together’s Spinning Week competition this year.
The 2021 Spin Together team Phuskadoras Internacionales (drop spindles only) consisted of the top 15 Bolivian spinners from 2020 and had 10 slots for foreign spinners. Only 3 foreign spinners joined the team, with one placing 7th. The video and photo exchanges on the team’s Face Book page wasn’t enough to connect the spinners. Last November, foreign team member, Stephane, had a rewarding video chat with Doña Maxima and Dorinda. She told Doña Maxima that watching one of Vilma´s Spinning Week videos helped her improve her ph´uska (drop spindle) spinning technique.
This year during Spinning Week, PAZA would like to experiment with video chats via WhatsApp or Zoom. Dorinda will be in Bolivia to facilitate the timing, connecting and help with language translation. There is no wi-fi, so social media is accessed by purchasing cell phone data. The quality of the calls can´t be guaranteed, the weekly video chats with Doña Maxima vary from great to frozen pixelated frames. If there is interest in a video chat during a Club dye day, that can be arranged as well.
The PAZA blog began in 2010. Other than a few grants over the years it has been used as the chief source of fundraising to cover Club and Huancarani workshop expenses (around $4,500/yr). Those of you who are WARP members have generously supported since the blog’s beginning, and except for the 4 of you who visited Independencia, have not had the opportunity to interact with the weavers who you´ve supported for so long. It’s long past time to fix that.
PAZA is going stronger than ever in Independencia, with dynamic women and chicas in the Club and engaged Huancarani weavers. The blog postings, fundraising, and sales of the weavings have declined because of the other demands on Dorinda’s time. The blog postings and fundraising for this year will be between now and mid-December to cover Spinning Week and sales of the weavings that will be traveling to the U.S. in early November. You still have time to commission a special-order weaving to be woven to your specifications. The weavings are the topic of the previous blog posting.
If you would like to arrange for a video chat with the Bolivian spinners during Spinning Week, please contact Dorinda through her e-mail below. If you would like to join the Phuskadoras Internactionales, you may register to spin with the team. The Bolivians chose polleras (skirt) for the 1st place prize and long-sleeved cardigans for the 2nd place prize. All prizes will be made by the Club members. Your prize will be a small woven pouch made from the 1st weavings by either 14-year-old Lineth or 12-year-old Jhoselin. (Sarahi, who is 9, is unhappy she´s not yet strong enough to weave on the loom). It has been 10 years since PAZA has been able to motivate chicas to progress to the level of weaving required by Doña Maxima to weave on the leaning frame loom. Participating in a video chat or spinning with the team requires a donation. The amount is at your discretion. For those of you who enjoy the blog, but haven´t donated, the donation thank-you e-mail always includes more scoop than what makes it into a blog posting. There will be blog postings into the end of the year because Spinning Week is so much fun and provides so many tales and photo ops that need to be shared. Dorinda Dutcher, email@example.com, August 14, 2022